Statements on Ruling in Bostic v. Rainey Case Striking Down Virginia Gay Marriage Ban


    I’m posting this super late because the Soapblox network of progressive state blogs – of which Blue Virginia is a part – has been down most of the day, but great news for human equality today in Virginia (and in other states as well)! Del. “Sideshow Bob” Marshall (R-Homophobia),  author of the anti-gay-marriage amendment befouling our constitution, must be crying right now; such a shame, huh?  đź™‚ Also, of course, great work by Attorney General Mark Herring’s office on this issue, yet again proving that elections have huge consequences — can you imagine where we’d be if Mark “Criminalize Miscarriages” Obenshain, who said that Ken Cuccinelli was his model Attorney General, had won that election?!?

    With that, here’s Gov. McAuliffe’s statement on the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bostic v. Rainey striking down Virginia’s ban on gay marriage: 

    “I am overjoyed by the news that, as a result of today’s ruling, Virginia will become a state where two people who love each other can get married regardless of their sexual orientation. This is a historic ruling for our Commonwealth, and its effect will affirm once again that Virginia is a state that is open and welcoming to all.

    “I want to thank Attorney General Mark Herring for his leadership in this case, and all of the men and women who fought for years to make this day a reality. Progress does not always come as quickly as we hope it will, but today is yet another example of how justice, equality and the people who fight for those values will always persevere in the end.”

    Next, here’s Sen. Mark Warner’s statement:

    “I am so happy that yet another federal court agrees that Virginia’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional,” Sen. Warner said. “Allowing people to marry who they love is the right thing to do, and it also strengthens our families and our communities. Virginia should be a welcoming place for all, and I am very pleased at the rapid progress toward marriage equality that we’re seeing in Virginia and around the country.”

    • Virginia Organizing State Governing Board Vice-Chairperson Del McWhorter responded to today’s Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that struck down Virginia and other states’ bans on same-sex marriage:

      “Today is a great victory for equality and justice in Virginia. A major obstacle for families has been overcome because of this decision. While we know this ruling could be appealed, Virginia Organizing is hopeful and confident that marriage equality, including the financial and legal equality that entails, will be realized in the near future.”

    • Today’s decision is a victory for the Virginia value of equality. I campaigned against the ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in 2006 and was very disappointed when it passed. I am gratified that the 4th Circuit Court has recognized that this discriminatory provision has no rightful place in the Virginia Constitution.

    • teacherken

      Having just read the opinion of the Fourth Circuit in the Virginia marriage equality case, where the judges agreed with the trial judge that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, one sentence jumped off the page.

      Previously the Supreme Court had deferred to state courts on the interpretation of state laws of marriage.

      But the Windsor case changed the ground rules.  As the opinion notes:

      Every federal court to consider this issue since the Supreme Court decided United States v Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013) has reached the same conclusion

      That conclusion means that state bans by legislation, initiative or constitutional amendment are judiciable by the Federal Courts.

      Once that happens, Loving v Virginia and Windsor v US apply, and together they point inexorably towards marriage equality.

      There were four votes against Windsor.  Thus in theory there could be 4 votes to grant certiorari and take up appeals.  But that would allow the Supreme Court, if the Windsor majority holds, to overturn ALL bans against marriage equality.

      Which is why judges from the majority in Windsor may be the ones to decide to grant certiorari and make marriage equality a part of the rights guaranteed to all under the U S Constitution.

      Just thought this was worthy of bringing to the attention of folks.

    • From the Rip Sullivan for Delegate campaign:

      With today’s news out of Richmond about the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban, it’s important voters know where the candidates for the 48th District stand on marriage equality.

      “Marriage equality isn’t just a civil rights issue,” said Sullivan. “It’s also an economic issue. By allowing couples to marry and receive all the benefits that married heterosexual couples currently enjoy, we would make Virginia a more attractive place to live, work and grow a business.”

      Sullivan continued, “What we’ve seen since January is that elections do matter. That’s why it’s important for both candidates for Delegate to clearly articulate their position on marriage equality.”

      In Dave Foster’s 2009 race for the Republican nomination for Attorney General, he sent out a direct mail piece saying he was “Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Pro-Death Penalty, and Pro-Second Amendment.” Foster then went on to support Ken Cuccinelli, first in his bid for Attorney General, and then again in 2013 in his bid for Governor. Cuccinelli famously fought to reinstate Virginia’s anti-sodomy law and said that homosexuality was “self-destructing.”


      ~ Court concurs with Herring’s analysis on constitutional issues regarding marriage equality ~

      RICHMOND (July 28, 2014)–Today, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals became just the second federal appeals court since last year’s Windsor case to affirm the Constitutional requirement of marriage equality. The Court agreed with the Commonwealth of Virginia that the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process clauses require the states to treat all couples equally.

      The Fourth Circuit’s majority agreed with Attorney General Herring’s position that marriage is a fundamental right and same-sex couples are equally entitled to that protection. They further agreed that the state’s reasons for denying marriage rights to same-sex couples failed to meet the threshold required for limiting a fundamental right. Because of the rules of the federal judiciary, the court’s decision will not be effective for at least 21 days.

      Following the decision, Attorney General Mark R. Herring, the first attorney general in the nation to argue successfully in court that his state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage should be struck down, issued the following statement:

      “Since the founding of our country, we have been working to create the more perfect union that our Constitution promises. It has been a long, sometimes slow, struggle, as we have extended the blessings of liberty to those once ignored or pushed aside.  Sometimes battles have been fought in the legislature, sometimes in the courtroom, sometimes even in the streets.  But inevitably, no effort to restrict the rights or limit the opportunities of our fellow Americans has ever succeeded in the long term.

      “Today is yet another victory for the principle of equality that is so central to the American experience, and I am proud that the Commonwealth of Virginia is leading on one of the most important civil rights issues of our day. The Fourth Circuit, the 10th Circuit, and every federal district court that has considered the question since Windsor has reached the same conclusion we did about the Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality.

      “But this is about much more than who wins or loses in court. We should never lose sight of the fact that we are fighting for the right of loving, committed couples to enter into the bonds of marriage. These fellow Virginians are asking the Commonwealth to convey to them the same rights and responsibilities that every other couple enjoys. They are asking to be treated equally, and if our Constitution guarantees anything, surely it is that.

      “Since the day we recognized our fight was for marriage equality, I have said that this will be a long journey that will involve victories and setbacks and may ultimately be destined for the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the matter for all Americans.  When Mildred and Richard Loving fought Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage, it took eight years for the case to be decided by the Supreme Court.

      “This is truly a joyous and historic day for our Commonwealth, and when our children study the fight for equality, they will know that Virginia was on the right side of the law and the right side of history.”

    • Senator McEachin Statement on Bostic v. Rainey Ruling; “The Commonwealth is becoming a better and better place for all its citizens”

      Henrico – Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) issued this statement on the Bostic v. Rainey decision. “I was so excited to hear of the court’s ruling. Many of us have fought for years for Virginia to be a place where all its citizens receive the equality, justice and fairness they deserve. I am thrilled that those barriers – albeit not quickly enough – are falling.  But, the Commonwealth is becoming a better place for all its citizens and these are milestones to be celebrated.  Every Virginian should be able to marry the person he or she loves.

      “I will continue to fight for true equality, justice and fairness, until Virginians know that they are not being judged or treated differently because of whom they love.  Families are about loving each other. Jobs are about performance. None of this has anything to do with gender or gender identity. Together, we will make Virginia a welcoming place for all its citizens and I am committed to doing everything I can to make that happen — and happen soon,” Senator McEachin concluded.

    • Hahahahaha. We’d expect no less from our ol’ pal “Sideshow Bob!” LOL. Can’t wait for Dick Black, Ken Cuccinelli, Mark Obenshain, and Virginia Republicans to weigh in…should be entertaining!

      In Response to Today’s Marriage Amendment Ruling:

      In the long run, advocates and defenders of so-called same sex marriage are their own best undertakers for their hubris in attempting to deny and defy the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” by which nations and cultures around the world have recognized for millennia that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.

      Although former Justice William O. Douglas explained that, “The Fourteenth Amendment was passed to give blacks first-class citizenship,” two Richmond federal judges ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment, written in the blood of 600,000+ Americans, was passed to establish same sex “marriage” as a civil right based on immoral behavior including acts that disqualify individuals from giving blood.

      Judges Robert Gregory and Henry Floyd are ignorant of the purpose of the 14th Amendment, and arrogant to think they have the moral and legal authority to negate the votes of 1.3 million Virginia voters who gave their approval in 2006 to Virginia’s one-man, one-woman Marshall-Newman Marriage Amendment.

      Judges Gregory and Floyd, who opine that two men or two women may “marry” each other do not define what they mean by “marriage,” don’t explain what consummates a homosexual “marriage” or why their decision does not support polygamy or marriages between adults and children “who love each other.” Will three lesbian women in Massachusetts, a “throuple,” move to Virginia to have their aberrant “marriage” relationship sanctioned by Judges Gregory and Floyd?

      Massive legal and social coercion will be used by GLBT advocates to secure compliance with their amoral agenda. Photographers and bakers are being fined or forced to provide services to same sex “marriages” against their conscience. The “Human Rights Campaign” is now defending teachers fired from Catholic schools after marrying same-sex partners. Pastors who refuse to conduct same sex marriage ceremonies will be sued, as has happened in the UK. Church charities that feed, clothe, house, and care for the less fortunate will suffer as these lawsuits increase.

      The Bob Jones Supreme Court decision upheld IRS denial of tax exempt status because the school violated “public policy” by imposing race distinctions among students. The LGBT lobby claims refusing same-sex marriage is akin to discrimination based on skin color, when in reality sexual behavior is not the same as race. Equality of persons is not the same as equality of behavior.

      If judicial elites impose a radical and immoral marriage regime on American citizens in defiance of the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” the result would be to tear the social fabric in ways that can scarcely be imagined, nor contained by judicial arrogance.

    • Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, based in Richmond, affirmed Virginia’s marriage ban is unconstitutional as it is in violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In response to the decision, Margaret Sacra, President of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, & Transgender Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia issued the following statement:

      “Today is a truly historic day, not just for same-sex couples in the 4th Circuit Court, but for all Virginians. All eight plaintiffs named in the suit, Tim Bostic and Tony London, Carol Schall and Mary Townley, Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd, and Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff are Virginians. With each milestone we pass, we inch closer and closer to the realization of the promise of America; that someday, we may live in a truly respectful and equal society, where all are welcomed to live, work, and raise a family. Today, Virginia is truly closer to being for all lovers.”

    • From the DCCC:

      Today a federal court of appeals struck down Virginia’s ban on gay marriage – but if Barbara Comstock had her way there would be no same-sex marriages.

      Comstock “consistently opposed same-sex marriage,” said that a federal marriage amendment preventing same-sex marriage was not anti-gay, and even voted to prohibit adoptions for same sex couples.

      “While Barbara Comstock’s right-wing agenda may fit right in with the Republican congress, each day brings fresh evidence that Comstock’s reckless partisanship is out of touch with Northern Virginia’s values,” said David Bergstein of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “From overturning Roe v. Wade  to opposing same-sex marriage, Comstock is proving time and again that she’s can’t be trusted to fight for Northern Virginia families in Washington.”


      Comstock “Has Consistently Opposed Same-Sex Marriage.” “The main line of attack on Comstock from Marshall and Wasinger is that she is insufficiently socially conservative. She has consistently opposed same-sex marriage and abortion, and among her supporters are such undoubted social conservatives as Mary Ellen Bork, Eugene Scalia, and Rick Santorum.” [National Review, 2/17/14]

      Comstock Said Federal Marriage Amendment was Not Anti-Gay. In February 2004 on CNN’s “Paula Zahn Now,” Comstock said a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman was not anti-gay: “We should be able to have a reasoned debate about this. The debate and the argument is about who is going to redefine marriage. All the amendment does is define marriage. It is not an anti-gay amendment. It defines marriage, the institution for marriage, which for 2000 years has been a man and woman and 200 years under our Constitution; 38 states have passed that. It’s been something we have all assumed would remain as the law,” Comstock said. [CNN, 2/25/04]

      Comstock Voted to Allow Adoption Agencies to Deny Adoptions to Same Sex Couples. In February 2012, Comstock voted in favor of house Bill 189 that would allow private adoption agencies to turn away parents based on sexual orientation or religious and moral beliefs. The measure would add a “conscience clause” to Virginia law that would allow state-funded, faith-based agencies to choose which parents are suitable for adoption based on the agencies’ beliefs. The bill passed 71 to 28.  [Washington Post, 2/07/12; HB 189, 2012 Session,

    • Ebbin, the first openly gay member of the Virginia General Assembly, has worked super hard on this issue over the years…

      I applaud today’s ruling from the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals affirming US District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen’s decision to recognize marriages of gay and lesbian Virginians. This victory for liberty is in keeping with Jefferson’s admonition that ‘laws and institutions must go hand and hand with the progress of the human mind.’ As the birthplace of America’s civil liberties, it is especially fitting that Virginia provides full equality to all of her citizens.

    • Today, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed what so many of us know to be true: “Virginia’s same-sex marriage bans impermissibly infringe on its citizens’ fundamental right to marry.”

      By upholding the constitutional rights of all Virginia families, the Court has joined many Virginians-and Americans-in supporting true equality.

      When I took office, we faced a court date in just a few weeks and had to decide whether this office would defend the ban, as my predecessor had done, or whether we would fight for equality. After much research and reflection, I knew Virginia’s ban on marriage equality violated the U.S. Constitution-so I became the first attorney general in the nation to actually challenge a ban in federal court and win.

      Since then, I’ve been moved by so many families reaching out to tell their stories. We can’t let ANY Virginia children grow up with the message that their families don’t deserve the same rights as others. It’s downright shameful.

      Our state has been at a similar crossroads before: in 1959, Virginia refused to recognize the interracial marriage of Mildred and Richard Loving of Caroline County. They were even sentenced to a year in prison for violating the “racial integrity” act. It’s a dark chapter in our history, but it’s one we’ve learned from.

      There are bound to be more hurdles on the road to equality, but thanks to the Fourth Circuit, we’re one step closer. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court must speak.

    • See Mason Conservative: “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.

      If every Republican I know say they want the government out of their lives really believed that, same sex marriage wouldn’t be an issue at all.  The country is there right now, but sadly the GOP is not (altogether) there.  This is a great day for liberty in this commonwealth, where all our friends and relatives can enjoy the true meaning of the great phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Jefferson put it so simply, and that is my litmus test in politics.  Does something enhance life, liberty, and happiness.  The roars of the past in the Republican Party are still there, but those old lions have had their day.  It is time to move forward as a party and a people, to be able to show every single citizen what limited government and personal freedom truly means. I believe we can never be truly trusted so long as we are a party that stands in the way of the private happiness of others.  

      My worry now is the usual suspects in our party whom I agree with on 80% of other issues will lose their minds and release statements and author legislation that will harm every candidate with an (R) next to their name.  Please don’t.  Virginia is now a commonwealth truly for all, where nobody has to hid their love in shame.

      It should be embraced.


      As for the rest of the Virginia “rightosphere,” so far it’s either dead silence or people “losing their minds,” as Mason Conservative warned them not to do. But did they listen? Of course not; and that’s why we love ’em! LOL

    • here.

      4th Dist. Appls Ct. upholds same-sex marriage in VA. Obama judicial appointmts, will overthrow traditional marriage state by state. Sad.

    • Per Right Wing Watch, here’s what top Virginia GOP donor Marion “Pat” Robertson had to say about LGBT people, about the same time that the 4th Circuit decided that the bigoted gay marriage ban in Virginia is unconstitutional.

      Robertson warned that “what our civil rights commissions and others are saying is, ‘We want to endanger our society and set it up for the judgment of God and if you Christians don’t like it then get out.”

      He said that just like those in Sodom who demanded that people have sex with them, gay people today are threatening Christians: “What the gays are saying is, ‘we’re going to drive you out of town, either you conform to us or you must leave.’ That’s the message that’s being put out, it’s the same message that there was in Sodom and Gomorrah: You’re either going to have sex with angels or have open sex with anybody or else you leave, or you go out of business. That’s America, you don’t want that, do you?”